Rural Broadband Access Loans and Loan Guarantees Program, 57406-57407 [2018-24860]

Download as PDF 57406 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 221 / Thursday, November 15, 2018 / Notices Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877–8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD– 3027, found online at https:// www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_ cust.html and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632–9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250–9410; (2) Fax: (202) 690–7442; or (3) Email: program.intake@usda.gov. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. Dated: November 7, 2018. Bette B. Brand, Administrator, Rural Business-Cooperative Service. [FR Doc. 2018–24938 Filed 11–14–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–XY–P evaluation period, applications will be ranked based on the percentage of unserved households that the applicant proposes to serve. RUS will conduct at least two evaluation periods for FY 2019. Because the Agency will receive applications throughout the fiscal year, subsequent evaluation periods can alter the ranking of applications. In addition to announcing its acceptance of FY 2019 applications, RUS revises the minimum and maximum amounts for broadband loans for the fiscal year. DATES: Applications under this NOSA will be accepted immediately through September 30, 2019. RUS will process loan applications as they are received. Applications can only be submitted online through the RD Apply website at https://www.rd.usda.gov/programsservices/rd-apply through September 30, 2019. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shawn Arner, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Loan Origination and Approval Division, Rural Utilities Service, Room 2844, STOP 1597, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250–1597; telephone: (202) 720– 0800, or email: shawn.arner@usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: General Information DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service Rural Broadband Access Loans and Loan Guarantees Program Rural Utilities Service, USDA. Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA). AGENCY: ACTION: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an Agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces that it is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2019 for the Rural Broadband Access Loans and Loan Guarantees Program (the Broadband Program). RUS will publish the amount of funding received through the final appropriations act on its website at https://www.rd.usda.gov/ newsroom/notices-solicitationapplications-nosas. RUS is accepting applications on a rolling basis throughout FY 2019. This will give RUS the ability to request additional information and modifications to a submitted application whenever necessary. Applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis. Every 90 days, RUS will conduct an evaluation of the submitted applications. During the khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:53 Nov 14, 2018 Jkt 247001 The Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program (the Broadband Program) is authorized by the Rural Electrification Act (7 U.S.C. 901 et seq.), as amended by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113– 79), also referred to as the 2014 Farm Bill. During FY 2019, loans will be made available for the construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities and equipment that will provide service at the Broadband Lending Speed in eligible rural areas. Applications are subject to the requirements of 7 CFR part 1738. No funding for Guaranteed Loans is available in FY 2019 and the agency will not be considering applications for this type of funding. The Agency encourages applications that will support recommendations made in the Rural Prosperity Task Force report to help improve life in rural America which can be found at www.usda.gov/ruralprosperity. Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that provide measurable results in helping rural communities build robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments in infrastructure, partnerships and innovation. Key strategies include: PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America • Developing the Rural Economy • Harnessing Technological Innovation • Supporting a Rural Workforce • Improving Quality of Life Application Assistance RUS offers pre-application assistance, in which National Office staff and the assigned General Field Representative review the draft application, provide detailed comments, and identify areas where an application is not meeting eligibility requirements for funding. The online application system allows RUS staff to assist an applicant with every part of an application as it is being developed. Once the application is formally submitted, the online system will timestamp the submitted version and establish the application’s place in the processing queue. Based on the order in which the applications are received, RUS will review the application for completeness. The applicant may be asked for additional information to clarify aspects of an otherwise complete application or to assist the Agency in the underwriting process. If the application is determined to be complete, RUS will review the package for eligibility and technical and financial feasibility, in accordance with 7 CFR part 1738. If an application is ultimately found to be incomplete or inadequate, a detailed explanation will be provided to the applicant. To further assist in the preparation of applications, an application guide is available online at: https:// www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/ farm-bill-broadband-loans-loanguarantees. An application guide may also be requested from the RUS contact listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this notice. Application Requirements: All requirements for submission of an application under the Broadband Program are subject to 7 CFR part 1738. Application Materials/Submission: Applications must be submitted through the Agency’s online application system located at https://www.rd.usda.gov/ programs-services/rd-apply. All materials required for completing an application are included in the online system. Minimum and Maximum Loan Amounts Loans under this authority will not be made for less than $100,000. The maximum loan amount that will be considered for FY 2019 is $25,000,000. E:\FR\FM\15NON1.SGM 15NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 221 / Thursday, November 15, 2018 / Notices Required Definitions for Broadband Program Regulation The regulation for the Broadband Program requires that certain definitions affecting eligibility be revised and published from time to time by the Agency in the Federal Register. For the purposes of this NOSA, the Agency is revising the definitions of Broadband Service and Broadband Lending Speed. Broadband Service is determined to exist if customers can access a minimum rate-of-data transmission of 25 megabits downstream and 3 megabits upstream for both mobile and fixed service. This rate is used to determine whether an area is eligible for funding. Broadband Lending Speed is the minimum rate-of-data transmission that applicants must propose to offer the customer. The Broadband Lending Speed is 25 megabits downstream and 3 megabits upstream for both mobile and fixed service. khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with NOTICES Priority for Approving Loan Applications Applications for FY 2019 will be accepted from the publication date of this NOSA through September 30, 2019. Although review of applications will begin as they are submitted, all applications will be evaluated and ranked every 90 days based on the percentage of unserved households in the proposed funded service area. Subject to available funding, eligible applications that propose to serve a higher percentage of unserved households will receive funding offers before other eligible applications that propose to serve a lower percentage of unserved households. The amount available will be published on the Agency web page once all budgetary allocations have been completed. Loan offers are limited to the funds available at the time of the Agency’s decision to approve an application. Applications will not be accepted after September 30, 2019, until a new application opportunity has been opened with the publication of an additional NOSA in the Federal Register. Paperwork Reduction Act In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the information collection requirements associated with Broadband loans, as covered in this NOSA, have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB Control Number 0572–0130. USDA Non-Discrimination Statement In accordance with Federal civil rights law and USDA civil rights VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:53 Nov 14, 2018 Jkt 247001 regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/ parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877–8339 (English) or (800) 845–6136 (Spanish). Individuals who wish to file a Program Discrimination Complaint must complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF). To file a program discrimination complaint, you may obtain a complaint form by sending an email to Cr-info@ ascr.usda.gov or calling (866) 632–9992 to request the form. A letter may also be written containing all of the information requested in the form. Send the completed complaint form or letter by mail to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250– 9410, or email at program.intake@ usda.gov. Additional information can be found online at https:// www.ascr.usda.gov/filing-programdiscrimination-complaint-usdacustomer. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. Dated: October 24, 2018. Christopher A. McLean, Acting Administrator, Rural Utilities Service. [FR Doc. 2018–24860 Filed 11–14–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Notice of Public Meeting of the Florida Advisory Committee AGENCY: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. ACTION: Announcement of meeting. Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the provisions of the rules SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 57407 and regulations of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act that the Florida Advisory Committee (Committee) will hold a meeting on Monday, December 3, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. (EST) for the purpose discussing civil rights concerns in the state. The meeting will be held on Monday, December 3, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. (EST). Public Call Information: Dial: 877– 260–1479, Conference ID: 5812789. DATES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Hinton, DFO, at jhinton@usccr.gov Members of the public can listen to the discussion. This meeting is available to the public through the toll-free call-in number dial: 877–260–1479, Conference ID: 5812789. An open comment period will be provided to allow members of the public to make a statement as time allows. The conference call operator will ask callers to identify themselves, the organization they are affiliated with (if any), and an email address prior to placing callers into the conference room. Callers can expect to incur regular charges for calls they initiate over wireless lines, according to their wireless plan. The Commission will not refund any incurred charges. Callers will incur no charge for calls they initiate over land-line connections to the toll-free telephone number. Persons with hearing impairments may also follow the proceedings by first calling the Federal Relay Service at 1–800–877– 8339 and providing the Service with the conference call number and conference ID number. Written comments may be mailed to the Regional Program Unit Office, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 230 S Dearborn St., Suite 2120, Chicago, IL 60604. They may also be faxed to the Commission at (312) 353–8324 or may be emailed to the Regional Director, Jeff Hinton at jhinton@usccr.gov. Records of the meeting will be available via www.facadatabase.gov under the Commission on Civil Rights, Florida Advisory Committee link. Persons interested in the work of this Committee are directed to the Commission’s website, https://www.usccr.gov, or may contact the Regional Program Unit at the above email or street address. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Agenda Welcome and Introductions Discussion: Civil Rights Issues in Florida Public Comment Adjournment E:\FR\FM\15NON1.SGM 15NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 221 (Thursday, November 15, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 57406-57407]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-24860]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Utilities Service


Rural Broadband Access Loans and Loan Guarantees Program

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA).

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SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an Agency of the United 
States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces that it is accepting 
applications for fiscal year (FY) 2019 for the Rural Broadband Access 
Loans and Loan Guarantees Program (the Broadband Program). RUS will 
publish the amount of funding received through the final appropriations 
act on its website at https://www.rd.usda.gov/newsroom/notices-solicitation-applications-nosas.
    RUS is accepting applications on a rolling basis throughout FY 
2019. This will give RUS the ability to request additional information 
and modifications to a submitted application whenever necessary.
    Applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis. 
Every 90 days, RUS will conduct an evaluation of the submitted 
applications. During the evaluation period, applications will be ranked 
based on the percentage of unserved households that the applicant 
proposes to serve. RUS will conduct at least two evaluation periods for 
FY 2019. Because the Agency will receive applications throughout the 
fiscal year, subsequent evaluation periods can alter the ranking of 
applications.
    In addition to announcing its acceptance of FY 2019 applications, 
RUS revises the minimum and maximum amounts for broadband loans for the 
fiscal year.

DATES: Applications under this NOSA will be accepted immediately 
through September 30, 2019. RUS will process loan applications as they 
are received.
    Applications can only be submitted online through the RD Apply 
website at https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rd-apply through 
September 30, 2019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shawn Arner, Deputy Assistant 
Administrator, Loan Origination and Approval Division, Rural Utilities 
Service, Room 2844, STOP 1597, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, 
DC 20250-1597; telephone: (202) 720-0800, or email: 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

General Information

    The Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program (the 
Broadband Program) is authorized by the Rural Electrification Act (7 
U.S.C. 901 et seq.), as amended by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Pub. 
L. 113-79), also referred to as the 2014 Farm Bill.
    During FY 2019, loans will be made available for the construction, 
improvement, and acquisition of facilities and equipment that will 
provide service at the Broadband Lending Speed in eligible rural areas. 
Applications are subject to the requirements of 7 CFR part 1738. No 
funding for Guaranteed Loans is available in FY 2019 and the agency 
will not be considering applications for this type of funding.
    The Agency encourages applications that will support 
recommendations made in the Rural Prosperity Task Force report to help 
improve life in rural America which can be found at www.usda.gov/ruralprosperity. Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that 
provide measurable results in helping rural communities build robust 
and sustainable economies through strategic investments in 
infrastructure, partnerships and innovation. Key strategies include:

 Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America
 Developing the Rural Economy
 Harnessing Technological Innovation
 Supporting a Rural Workforce
 Improving Quality of Life

Application Assistance

    RUS offers pre-application assistance, in which National Office 
staff and the assigned General Field Representative review the draft 
application, provide detailed comments, and identify areas where an 
application is not meeting eligibility requirements for funding. The 
online application system allows RUS staff to assist an applicant with 
every part of an application as it is being developed. Once the 
application is formally submitted, the online system will timestamp the 
submitted version and establish the application's place in the 
processing queue.
    Based on the order in which the applications are received, RUS will 
review the application for completeness. The applicant may be asked for 
additional information to clarify aspects of an otherwise complete 
application or to assist the Agency in the underwriting process. If the 
application is determined to be complete, RUS will review the package 
for eligibility and technical and financial feasibility, in accordance 
with 7 CFR part 1738. If an application is ultimately found to be 
incomplete or inadequate, a detailed explanation will be provided to 
the applicant.
    To further assist in the preparation of applications, an 
application guide is available online at: https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/farm-bill-broadband-loans-loan-guarantees. An 
application guide may also be requested from the RUS contact listed in 
the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this notice.
    Application Requirements: All requirements for submission of an 
application under the Broadband Program are subject to 7 CFR part 1738.
    Application Materials/Submission: Applications must be submitted 
through the Agency's online application system located at https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rd-apply. All materials required for 
completing an application are included in the online system.

Minimum and Maximum Loan Amounts

    Loans under this authority will not be made for less than $100,000. 
The maximum loan amount that will be considered for FY 2019 is 
$25,000,000.

[[Page 57407]]

Required Definitions for Broadband Program Regulation

    The regulation for the Broadband Program requires that certain 
definitions affecting eligibility be revised and published from time to 
time by the Agency in the Federal Register. For the purposes of this 
NOSA, the Agency is revising the definitions of Broadband Service and 
Broadband Lending Speed.
    Broadband Service is determined to exist if customers can access a 
minimum rate-of-data transmission of 25 megabits downstream and 3 
megabits upstream for both mobile and fixed service. This rate is used 
to determine whether an area is eligible for funding.
    Broadband Lending Speed is the minimum rate-of-data transmission 
that applicants must propose to offer the customer. The Broadband 
Lending Speed is 25 megabits downstream and 3 megabits upstream for 
both mobile and fixed service.

Priority for Approving Loan Applications

    Applications for FY 2019 will be accepted from the publication date 
of this NOSA through September 30, 2019. Although review of 
applications will begin as they are submitted, all applications will be 
evaluated and ranked every 90 days based on the percentage of unserved 
households in the proposed funded service area. Subject to available 
funding, eligible applications that propose to serve a higher 
percentage of unserved households will receive funding offers before 
other eligible applications that propose to serve a lower percentage of 
unserved households. The amount available will be published on the 
Agency web page once all budgetary allocations have been completed.
    Loan offers are limited to the funds available at the time of the 
Agency's decision to approve an application.
    Applications will not be accepted after September 30, 2019, until a 
new application opportunity has been opened with the publication of an 
additional NOSA in the Federal Register.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the 
information collection requirements associated with Broadband loans, as 
covered in this NOSA, have been approved by the Office of Management 
and Budget (OMB) under OMB Control Number 0572-0130.

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

    In accordance with Federal civil rights law and USDA civil rights 
regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and 
employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA 
programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, 
national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender 
expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, 
family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance 
program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil 
rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA 
(not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing 
deadlines vary by program or incident.
    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of 
communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, 
audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the Agency or 
USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA 
through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339 (English) or (800) 
845-6136 (Spanish).
    Individuals who wish to file a Program Discrimination Complaint 
must complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF). To 
file a program discrimination complaint, you may obtain a complaint 
form by sending an email to [email protected] or calling (866) 632-
9992 to request the form. A letter may also be written containing all 
of the information requested in the form.
    Send the completed complaint form or letter by mail to the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 
Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or email at 
[email protected]. Additional information can be found online at 
https://www.ascr.usda.gov/filing-program-discrimination-complaint-usda-customer.
    USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

    Dated: October 24, 2018.
Christopher A. McLean,
Acting Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-24860 Filed 11-14-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE P